stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Change myself, change the world"

That's the trouble with Zen retreats - I find that for some time afterwards you are full with experiences but empty on words!

I must, however, say that Thich Nhat Hahn's wonderful teachings seem far removed from the apparent austerity of the Zen schools of Japan (with which it is closely linked, as he is a 42nd generation Lin-chi (Rinzai) Master of Lieu Quan School of Vietnamse Buddhism). I am continually surprised to be instructed at the beginning of a meditation session "Enjoy your breathing".

I feel very at home with these gentle and compassionate people, and find their good humour contagious. It is such an ordinary, practical and every day useful practice - not ivory temple stuff at all. " A practice of joy, harmony and transformation". That's all I ask. I cant transform people and situations around me, but I can change my "unwholesome mental states".

And yesterday, Sunday, some of the more local of us got together in a Day of Mindfulness in a lovely location on Dartmoor. A warm wooden practice centre called The Barefoot Barn. It has walls of windows that look out onto the rolling hills that lead up to the moors, and underfloor heating and a wood burning stove. But the windows were wide open yesterday, as it was one of those brilliant blue sky bursting days of winter, when the sun turned up its heating by several notches. We did chi gong exercises by a small still lake, fed by gentle streams. It was total pleasure to look up at the sky through open pine tree branches and feel the sun's warmth really heating up your body. I felt very organic just soaking it up like everything else in that soft landscape.

Unusually (and may there be more of it) I was content to wander past mossy rocks and look out on the scene from the hillside without grasping at the delightful experience and trying to capture it and take it with me, to have and to hold. A gentle attention on the continually changing was exquisite and light.

I only fleetingly regretted not having my camera to try to capture it to share visually with you!


At 5:30 am, Blogger Fibo said...

NICE Blog :)

At 7:18 am, Blogger Kerri said...

It sounds like a wonderful location to do your chi gong exercises. Your descriptions produce a peaceful setting in my mind.
I must confess though to being a little disappointed at not being able to see a picture of the scene. You see, you've spoiled me with your lovely photos :)
I hope the peace stays with you for a good while.

At 7:20 pm, Blogger Val said...

Bit of a typo there, it should be "ivory tower" but I quite like "ivory temple", so it will stay! LOL

At 4:47 am, Blogger vishwa said...'s nice to read your experiences. Sometimes I feel you've visited another world and brought back those memories. Going deep into the recesses of the mind, in the compassionate surroundings of Nature must be truly awesome.

At 1:19 am, Blogger Zen said...

ANother grand virtual visit, thanks


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